Monday, March 31

ROBERT FORSTER


Today's ROBERT FORSTER is the former co-leader of the underrated GO-BETWEENS, not the actor from the underrated "Jackie Brown." Forster's musical cohort, GRANT McLENNAN, died in May of 2006, thus putting an end to that '80s and '00s enterprise (both men spent the '90s as solo artists).

Mr. Forster will be releasing his first solo album in almost 12 years in April. It is called THE EVANGELIST, and includes the two songs below....

[MP3] "Did She Overtake You"

[MP3] "Demon Days"

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NIGHT CANOPY


L.A.'s NIGHT CANOPY principally consist(s) of singer-songwriter AMY BLASCHKE and former PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES drummer NICK DeWITT. Their ouvre is moody folk-pop, sometimes employing a lite-dark, late-'60s groove. The songs below are taken from their 2007 album, OF HONEY AND COUNTRY.

[MP3] "Sing Me to Sleep"

[MP3] "Signs of Life"

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Sunday, March 30

R.E.M. - PART 2

R.E.M. on WIKIPEDIA.

From the LP LIFES RICH PAGEANT, 1986 >>>
[
MP3] "Fall on Me"
[
MP3] "Superman"
[
MP3] "I Believe"

From the LP DOCUMENT, 1987 >>>
[
MP3] "Welcome to the Occupation"
[
MP3] "Strange"

From the LP GREEN, 1988 >>>
[
MP3] "Orange Crush"
[
MP3] "World Leader Pretend"

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R.E.M. - PART 1

R.E.M.'s new LP, ACCELERATE, comes out this Tuesday in the U.S. I've already gone and expressed my sadness and disappointment [HERE]. It occurs to me now: The truly troubling thing is that the band made most, if not all, of the adjustments that I (and most fans and critics) thought they absolutely had to make in order to reinvigorate their sound, yet they still produced a largely lackluster and leaden effort. !Ay chihuahua!

(Of course, not all critics are finding it "lackluster" and/or "leaden," as I see that both Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly are raving. "Raving mad," methinks.)

Late Thursday night, I found myself compelled by coffee & crankiness to pop MURMUR into the player, strap on my trusty Grado 60s, and crank the volume to a level that's slowly-but-surely eroding my ability to hear high frequencies. Sure enough, the band's debut album still sounded fresh, vital, and new -- even 25 years after its release. And it's not as though I wanted the new disc to sound like MURMUR (or LIFES RICH PAGEANT or AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE, for that matter); I just wanted some semblance of the inspired communion of songwriting and performance that had elevated those records to classic status. Too much to ask for? Guess so.

(But enough with the bitching. Honestly, enough already.)

Now... you may need to crank the volume a bit on these early-career cuts, but methinks them well worth the effort....


From the Hib-Tone single, 1981 >>>
[
MP3] "Radio Free Europe"

From the EP CHRONIC TOWN, 1982 >>>
[
MP3] "Wolves, Lower"
[
MP3] "Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)"

From the LP MURMUR, 1983 >>>
[
MP3] "Sitting Still"
[
MP3] "Shaking Through"

From the LP RECKONING, 1984 >>>
[
MP3] "So. Central Rain"
[
MP3] "Pretty Persuasion"

From the LP FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION, 1985 >>>
[
MP3] "Green Grow the Rushes"
[
MP3] "Wendell Gee"

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Friday, March 28

ODDS 'N' SODS #8

[MP3] MIXEL PIXEL/"Fake Girlfriend"

[
MP3] ELECTRIC SIX/"Down at McDonnellzzzzzzz"

[
MP3] MADONNA [w/JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE & TIMBALAND]/"4 Minutes to Save the World"

[
MP3] THE BLAKES/"Lintwalk"

[
MP3] ANE BRUN/"Raise My Head"

[
MP3] SUN KIL MOON/"Heron Blue"

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Thursday, March 27

PORTISHEAD

I was going to start this by saying that I was finding PORTISHEAD's new album, THIRD, to be pretty tough sledding. Then I remembered that I've found damn-near all of Portishead's albums to be pretty tough sledding, so this is merely par for the course.

Thank goodness for BETH GIBBONS' cracked-ice, zombie croon. Without that, I probably wouldn't even bother to be bothered by my inability to embrace their stark, narcotized vibe.

Rumor has it that THIRD will drop on April 28.

PORTISHEAD on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Magic Doors"

[
MP3] "The Rip"

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THE RACONTEURS

Much like GNARLS BARKLEY last week, THE RACONTEURS felt compelled to move up the release date for their second LP, CONSOLERS OF THE LONELY, to help mitigate an Internet leak.

While there's nothing quite so effortlessly classic as "Steady, As She Goes" this time around, I still find myself drawn more to the "BRENDAN BENSON"-sounding entries than the "JACK WHITE" efforts. (Generally-speaking, though, that merely reflects my preference for pop-rock over blues-rock, and White's closing "Carolina Drama" has to rank as one of the album's highlights.) (And, come to think of it, "The Switch and the Spur" below shares some brassy swagger with "Conquest" from the last WHITE STRIPES album....)


THE RACONTEURS on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "The Switch and the Spur" [REMOVED BY REQUEST]

[
MP3] "Many Shades of Black" [REMOVED BY REQUEST]

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Wednesday, March 26

THE SUBMARINES

I had THE SUBMARINES' DECLARE A NEW STATE! at #11 on my Top Albums list of 2006. Now, still-married JOHN DRAGONETTI & BLAKE HAZARD are back with the decidedly sunshinier follow-up, HONEYSUCKLE WEEKS. Look for it May 13 on NETTWERK.

THE SUBMARINES on MySPACE.

From the LP HONEYSUCKLE WEEKS, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "You, Me and the Bourgeoisie"

From the LP DECLARE A NEW STATE!, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] "Peace and Hate"

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THE KOOKS

Back in 2006, it was pretty easy to confuse Brighton's THE KOOKS with any number of other 21st century Britpop bands. The passage of two years hasn't really changed that.

Still, in 2006, I used 4 of the 14 songs from their album of the time (INSIDE IN/INSIDE OUT) on mix CDs. In 2008, I'm using 4 of the 12 songs from their present album (KONK) on mix CDs. So that's consistency for you, at the very least.

KONK should be globally available come April 15.

THE KOOKS on MySPACE.

From the LP KONK, 2008 >>>

[MP3] "See the Sun"
[
MP3] "Mr. Maker"

From the LP INSIDE IN/INSIDE OUT, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Ooh La"
[MP3] "Jackie Big Tits"

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Tuesday, March 25

COUNTING CROWS

Hey, whattaya know? COUNTING CROWS are still a band! Who knew?

And the better question: Does anyone still care? After all, it's been six years since their last album (the if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest-obscure HARD CANDY), and 15 years since AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER blew up bigger-than-big (and left contemporaries like GIN BLOSSOMS and TOAD THE WET SPROCKET choking on their dust).

The new long-player, SATURDAY NIGHTS & SUNDAY MORNINGS, is out today. I don't hear a breakout single on there ("1492" rocks hard but in vain), so it's hard to imagine this effort serving as catalyst for a comeback. Stranger things have happened, I suppose (for example: People keep buying that damn JACK JOHNSON record. Ugh.)

COUNTING CROWS on MySPACE.

From the LP SATURDAY NIGHTS & SUNDAY MORNINGS, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Cowboys"
[
MP3] "Come Around"

From the LP HARD CANDY, 2002 >>>
[
MP3] "Miami"
[
MP3] "American Girls"

From the LP THIS DESERT LIFE, 1999 >>>
[
MP3] "Hanginaround"
[
MP3] "All My Friends"

From the LP RECOVERING THE SATELLITES, 1996 >>>
[
MP3] "A Long December"
[
MP3] "Angels of the Silences"

From the LP AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER, 1993 >>>
[
MP3] "Round Here"
[
MP3] "Mr. Jones"

BONUS TRACK >>>

[
MP3] "Einstein on the Beach (For an Eggman)"

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Monday, March 24

DAWN LANDES

Seems the New-York-City-by-way-of-Louisville singer-songwriter DAWN LANDES won't leave me alone. I happened upon her song "Bodyguard" on the 'Net quite some time ago, but I couldn't make up my mind whether or not I liked it enough to post it. So I filed it in the "In Limbo" bin. And I moved on.

But then her CD, FIREPROOF, showed up in my mailbox. All of a sudden, sort of. Just like that. Dammit, I thought, now I'm obliged to listen to this whole dadgum thing. Which I did. And "Bodyguard" was the best song on there. And "Twilight" was my next-best. So I was getting closer to posting, but still not quite there yet. There were certain nagging reservations, I guess you'd say. Certain lingering uncertainties.

So then, last night, I'm reading an old issue of Entertainment Weekly. I don't subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, but my brother did and then my brother died so now I get his Entertainment Weeklys. And in this particular one -- the one I was reading last night -- who else but Dawn Landes should get mentioned? Exactly. Just like that.

So, you see, it's fate, I guess. My brother died so I would be sure and post on Dawn Landes. Funny the way things work.... He was only 50, and I'm still not sure I exactly love this goddam song....


DAWN LANDES on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Bodyguard"

[
MP3] "Twilight"

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THE CHARLATANS UK

If you're of a mind to, you can download the new CHARLATANS UK CD, YOU CROSS MY PATH, for $0 by heading [HERE]. (If you're not of a mind to, there'll be no helping you....)

THE CHARLATANS UK on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "You Cross My Path"

[
MP3] "Oh! Vanity"

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Sunday, March 23

FRANCOISE HARDY - PART 2

FRANCOISE HARDY on WIKIPEDIA.

[
MP3] "Comment te dire adieu"

[
MP3] "Ce petit coeur"

[
MP3] "Le premier bonheur du jour"

[
MP3] "Tu peux bien"

[
MP3] "Des ronds dans l'eau"

[
MP3] "Ou va la chance"

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Friday, March 21

ODDS 'N' SODS #7

[MP3] WE ARE SCIENTISTS/"After Hours"

[
MP3] TOKYO POLICE CLUB/"Juno"

[
MP3] MYSTERY JETS/"Veiled in Grey"

[
MP3] TREMBLING BLUE STARS/"Beautiful Blank"

[
MP3] JAYMAY"Blue Skies"

[
MP3] SNAKE & JET'S AMAZING BULLIT BAND/"Kolmilan"

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FOREST CITY LOVERS

Toronto's FOREST CITY LOVERS are purveyors of dark-edged, atmospheric indie pop. Their second album, HAUNTING MOON SINKING, is available both [HERE] and [HERE].

FOREST CITY LOVERS on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Waiting By the Fence"

[
MP3] "And the Trees"

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Thursday, March 20

TAPES 'N TAPES

Not infrequently, I find myself more than a little mystified by the prevailing winds & whims of the MP3 blogging community. A couple years ago, Minneapolis' TAPES 'N TAPES was all the rage, it seemed, everywhere but in my house.

April 8 will see the release of their new album, WALK IT OFF, and I continue to struggle to understand their appeal. Even my favorite track from the new disc, "Conquest," never quite delivers on the promise of its terrific, skittering guitar and infectious backbeat.

Oh well. "To each his/her own," as the saying is wont to say....

TAPES 'N TAPES on MySPACE.

From the LP WALK IT OFF, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Conquest"
[
MP3] "Say Back Something"

From the LP THE LOON, 2006 >>>
[
MP3] "Insistor"

BONUS TRACK >>>

[
MP3] "Cowbell" [The Black Eyes Remix]

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Wednesday, March 19

GNARLS BARKLEY

I remember feeling pretty satisfied with myself for being one of the first American MP3 bloggers to latch onto the insanely-catchy mojo of GNARLS BARKLEY's "Crazy." I certainly wasn't the first, since I would have learned of it from another blog to begin with. [Very possibly this one right (HERE).]

I first put the song on a mix CD in January of 2006, and it appeared on this blog on February 10 as part of the BEST OF JANUARY 2006 compilation (along with that other blogosphere fave of the day -- MIDLAKE's "Roscoe"). Of course, the song went on to be played to death in countries across the globe, but that MORRICONE-nicked bassline, those unapologetic, '70-styled strings, and that signature voice remain ingenious pieces of a classic, crossover joint.

Well, time marches on, and C.-L. and D.M. are back with the follow-up to ST. ELSEWHERE. Originally intended for an April 8 bricks-and-mortar release, THE ODD COUPLE has now been bumped up to March 25. Full-album leaks can have that effect, I guess....

GNARLS BARKLEY on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Surprise"

[
MP3] "Going On"

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ANGUS & JULIA STONE

One of the many problems with year-end best album lists is that -- inevitably, invariably -- things get missed. Case in point: ANGUS & JULIA STONE's A BOOK LIKE THIS.

If I'd discovered this Aussie brother/sister team a few months ago (as opposed to a few weeks ago), their debut LP may well have made my 2007 Top 12. Alas, alas.

But: Better late than never.

(For variety's sake, I like the fact that both boy & girl take turns at the mic. The selections below will give you a taste of each....)

ANGUS & JULIA STONE on MySPACE.

[
MP3] "Just a Boy"

[
MP3] "A Book Like This"

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Tuesday, March 18

I AM KLOOT

I AM KLOOT is a trio from Manchester led by singer-songwriter JOHN BRAMWELL. Their latest LP, I AM KLOOT PLAY MOOLAH ROUGE, was released as a limited edition late last year. It's supposed to be released in a more traditional manner sometime soon, but be damned if I can nail down a date. In the meantime, there is the subsequent smorgasbord to whet your collective appetite....

I AM KLOOT on MySPACE.

From the LP I AM KLOOT PLAY MOOLAH ROUGE, 2008 >>>
[
MP3] "Ferris Wheels"
[
MP3] "Hey Little Bird"

From the LP GODS AND MONSTERS, 2005 >>>
[
MP3] "No Direction Home"
[
MP3] "Over My Shoulder"

From the LP I AM KLOOT, 2003 >>>
[
MP3] "Cuckoo"
[
MP3] "Your Favourite Sky"

From the LP NATURAL HISTORY, 2001 >>>
[
MP3] "86 TV's"
[
MP3] "Stop"

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